Actor Russell Johnson, best known as "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island, served in the US Army Air Force during WWII. He flew 44 combat missions as a bombardier in B-25 bombers. In March 1945, he and two other B-25s were shot down in the Philippines. He broke both his ankles and the radioman next to him was killed. Johnson earned a Purple Heart, among other honors. He was honorably discharged and later served in the Army Reserve. He used his GI Bill to fund his acting lessons.
Rod Steiger (1925-2002) USN 1941-45 WW II. Dropped out of high school at 16 and enlisted in the Navy serving on a destroyer in the Pacific Theater. After discharge worked at the VA and joined a theater group. Studied acting at several New York schools on the GI Bill. Best remembered for roles in “On The Waterfront” (’54), “The Pawnbroker” (’64), and “In The Heat of the Night” (’67), which won him an Oscar.
Harry Belafonte: At the young age of 19, after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, veteran Harry Belafonte attended The New School for Social Research in New York City, using his GI Bill benefits.